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Taxation, R&D tax incentives and patent application in Europe


  • Ernst, Christof
  • Spengel, Christoph


The focus of this paper is on effects from tax incentives for research and development inputs (R&D) and corporate income tax on business R&D and patenting behaviour. First, we provide a theoretical discussion of tax planning with R&D and intellectual property (IP) ownership. Further, we employ firm-specific micro-data on patent applications of European corporations at the European Patent Office to test reactions on changes in R&D tax incentives and corporate tax burden. We find a positive impact of R&D tax incentives and a negative impact of the statutory corporate income tax rate on patenting. R&D incentives rather influence the tendency to invest in R&D, whereas the tax burden rather influences the scale of R&D investment and the count of patent applications.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernst, Christof & Spengel, Christoph, 2011. "Taxation, R&D tax incentives and patent application in Europe," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-024, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:11024

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1989. "Agency costs and innovation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 305-327, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Griffith, Rachel & Miller, Helen & O'Connell, Martin, 2014. "Ownership of intellectual property and corporate taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 12-23.
    2. Heckemeyer, Jost H. & Richter, Katharina & Spengel, Christoph, 2014. "Tax planning of R&D intensive multinationals," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-114, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Haufler, Andreas & Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars, 2014. "Entrepreneurial innovations and taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 13-31.
    4. Dinkel, Andreas & Schanz, Deborah, 2015. "Tax attractiveness and the location of patents," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 188, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

    More about this item


    Patent; R&D; Tax Incentives; Taxation; EU;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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